Looking for something cultural to do this weekend and beyond? Welcome to our select list of recommendations for Christmas-y and non-Christmas-y events. Pictured: Jason-Jamal Ligon as the troublemaking poseur in “Six Degrees of Separation,” beginning previews Jan. 8 at Actor’s Express, which is, arguably, having one of the finest seasons around in (“Venus in Fur,” “Pluto”). Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus. Note: Next week’s Best Bets will post on Christmas Eve, so you can plan what to do when all that family time becomes a … bit … too … much.
A Christmas Carol. THROUGH DEC. 29. This annual Alliance Theatre staging marks Chris Kayser’s 16th and final season as Ebenezer Scrooge. Celebrate him and many of Atlanta’s finest actors in a magical, musical telling of the Dickens classic. A multicultural cast, clothed in gorgeous period costumes, tells the tale and sings classic carols in rich harmonies. $20-$70; family four-packs are $149. Show times vary. Details HERE. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. For more on Chris Kayser’s run as Scrooge, see this Encore FEATURE.
Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays and a Connie Sue Day Christmas! FINAL WEEKEND. If you’ve never seen singer Libby Whittemore and her alter ego Connie Sue Day, you’re missing one of the best shows around. Expect tunes like “Santa, Baby,” “Hard Candy Christmas,” “River,” “My Grown-Up Christmas List” and more from Whittemore, the self-penned “Twelve Days of a White Trash Christmas” and “Christmas in Dixie” from Miss Connie Sue Day, the 31st Lady of Country Music. With Robert Strickland and his Super-Sized Combo. At Actor’s Express.$40 plus fees (buy online, save money). 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday. 887 W. Marietta St. Note: The King Plow Arts Center parking lot is under construction. Alternate parking options HERE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.SHOW.
Peter Pan & Wendy. THROUGH DEC. 29. In this musical version of the popular tale, Wendy is the one who won’t grow up. To avoid the inevitable, she flies off to Neverland with Peter Pan, where the Lost Boys, Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily, Captain Hook and his misfit pirate pal offer challenges and joys. A swashbuckling adventure from Synchronicity Theatre, in which young audience members can help tell the story and decorate a Neverland-ish holiday tree. A co-production with Aurora Theatre. Recommended for ages 4 and up. The critics: “A pleasant option for parents and kids who are either tired of, or not interested in, Christmas shows” (Andrew Alexander, ArtsATL.com). $10-$40. Show times vary; details HERE. Synchronicity at the 14th Street Playhouse, 173 14th St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com. (Pictured: Monte J. Howell as the dastardly Captain Hook. Photo: KVC Photography)
THIS WEEKEND ONLY
Christmas With the Georgia Boy Choir. FRIDAY-SATURDAY. Two concerts only. These songfests have become an Atlanta family tradition. All five levels of the Georgia Boy Choir, accompanied by a full orchestra, will sing a glorious range of seasonal music. You’ll even get a chance to sing along. $20-$40 plus fees. 7 p.m. Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 3180 Peachtree Road N.E. Details, tickets HERE. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
A Very Merry Holiday Pops. TONIGHT-SATURDAY. This annual anything-goes holiday variety show features the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Broadway vocalist Liz Callaway, a youth chorus comprised of Atlanta’s finest high school vocalists and a jitterbugging Santa. ASO Principal Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski is on the podium. $22-$60. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Woodruff Arts Center’s Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Tickets, details HERE or at 404.733.5000.
Krampus Xmas. TONIGHT-SATURDAY. Krampus returns to 7 Stages like an angry elf, so you’d best hide the kids. This decidedly adult holiday reverie features St. Nick’s demonic counterpart like you’ve never seen him before. Join the Little Five Points Rockstar Orchestra, the burlesque-y Syrens of the South and the 7 Stages Hand Bell Choir for an irreverent rock ‘n’ roll celebration. Not for the faint of heart. Age 18 and up only, and IDs will be checked at the box office. $15.74 plus fees. 8 p.m. 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647. Discounted tickets at PoshDealz.com.
The 12 Dates of Christmas. THROUGH SATURDAY. Follow the misadventures of a woman named Mary, who sees her her fiancé kiss another woman on TV during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and, over the next year, is set up, hooked up, strung up and fed up as she attempts to negotiate the dating scene. This one-woman piece at Aurora Theatre features Jaclyn Hofmann (Weird Sisters’ 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche). In repertory with the one-man show Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. $15. 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. THROUGH SUNDAY. Aurora Theatre Producing Artistic Director Anthony P. Rodriguez slips into Victorian garb once again for his one-man telling of the classic tale. All the regulars show up, including Scrooge, Cratchit and Marley. 8 tonight; 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discounted tickets at PoshDealz.com.
The Gifts of the Magi. THROUGH SUNDAY. Back for a second year at Theatrical Outfit. Christmas, the season of giving, doesn’t look very merry or bright to Jim and Della, penniless newlyweds who valiantly struggle to find the perfect gift for one another. This musical, based on O. Henry’s 1906 story, returns with half of last season’s cast (Nick Arapoglou, Caroline Freedlund, Jeff McKerley) and the booming voices of newcomers Kayce Grogan-Wallace, Kevin Harry and Rob Lawhon. Show times vary; schedule HERE. $20-$50. 84 Luckie St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE, at the box office or at 877.725.8849. (Pictured: Kevin Harry. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus)
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. THROUGH DEC. 29. The tradition continues with another trip to the Sugar Candy Kingdom. This year’s staging features new illusions, and the Georgia Youth Choir in Act 1’s “Snow Scene.” Choreography by artistic director John McFall. The score, of course, is Tchaikovsky’s, played by the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra. $20-$80. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Also at 7 p.m. Dec. 22; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23; 1 p.m. Dec. 24; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 26 and 2 p.m. Dec. 27. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E. Tickets, details HERE. For more, see this Encore FEATURE.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. THROUGH DEC. 29. He’s back! Our little red-nosed reindeer friend; his pal Hermie and even the Bumble. The Center for Puppetry Arts‘ holiday adaptation is based on the classic 1964 stop-motion animated TV special. A live-camera, behind-the-scenes demonstration follows select performances. $16.50-$20.50; age 2 and under free. Show times vary; check the schedule HERE. 1404 Spring St. N.W. Tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.
CRUSH: A Valentine to the ’90s. FEB. 3 ONLY. Excited about The Book of Mormon coming to town? Now you have even more reason. TheBestArts.com will present cast members in a one-night-only cabaret event that will benefit Project Open Hand and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. More than 20 singers, dancers and actors will showcase their talents, backed by a live band. Includes a cash bar. $50; $100 VIP (includes pre-show reception with the show’s leading performers). 6:30 p.m. silent auction with Mormon memorabilia; 7:30 p.m. show. A live auction mid-show will let audience members bid for a chance to join the company backstage at the Fox Theatre, where Book of Mormon will play. 14th Street Playhouse, 173 14th St. N.E. in Midtown. Tickets HERE.
The Only Light in Reno. JAN 9.-26. World premiere. Prolific Atlanta playwright Topher Payne (Swell Party, Angry Fags) returns to Georgia Ensemble Theatre with this trippy trip back in time. It’s August 1960 and 106 degrees in Reno, Nev., where filming on the movie The Misfits is hopelessly behind schedule. Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift are playing board games with an accused murderess, and Marilyn Monroe is locked in the bathroom. See what happened when Hollywood came to “The Biggest Little City in the World” and everything went up in flames. Cast: Kate Donadio, Johnny Drago, Elizabeth Genge, Shelly McCook and Rachel Sorsa. $10-$35. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Georgia Ensemble Theatre at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forest St. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260.
Six Degrees of Separation. JAN. 8-FEB. 9. A young man named Paul artfully cons himself into the lives of New York’s bourgeois by claiming to know a wealthy couple’s Ivy League children and that he’s the son of Sydney Poitier. How will this charade play out? Award-winning playwright John Guare’s bitterly comic piece explores the intimacy of the universe, and the comfort and chaos found within it. Winner of London’s 1993 Olivier Award for best play and the 1991 New York Drama Critics Circle Award. At Actor’s Express. Cast includes Jason-Jamal Ligon as Paul, plus Lane Carlock, Luis R. Hernandez, Mary Lynn Owen and Doyle Reynolds. $15-$40 plus fees (buy online, save money). 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. 887 W. Marietta St. Note: The King Plow Arts Center parking lot is under construction. Alternate parking options HERE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.SHOW.
Kathy Janich, Encore Atlanta’s managing editor, has been seeing, working in or covering the performing arts for most of her life. Full disclosure: She’s affiliated with Synchronicity Theatre listed above. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.